The Colors, The Glory, The Wonder of Christmas
There is something about Christmas that requires beauty. Everything about this holiday calls for beauty. And so we are preparing. As I am writing a score of people have fanned out across our campus and are decorating. Trees are being erected. Colors, red and green and gold and silver are everywhere. Our already beautiful place where we worship is becoming more so.
Why this need for beauty? What is it that makes us crave such beauty, especially at this time of year? The first Christmas was probably not pleasing to the eyes. Mary and Joseph wore no bright colors. The birth took place in what to us would be a place of no beauty at all. The shepherds who appeared later were no doubt poor and ragged and dirty. Why the beauty? Why do we want it?
At that first Christmas night heaven and earth mingled one becoming indistinguishable from the other. Angels, bursting with glory, stood among shepherds and then surrounded them. The glory of God engulfed these common men. Who knows what glory rested upon them transforming them into something more glorious than the angels even. Brightness, that the earth had not seen before was revealed and in that revealing the dull colors of earth took on glory, shining with radiance they had not seen in the long forgotten eons since Eden. And there was singing. Multitudes of angels, a chorus which our choir is intended to replicate sang out words we repeat now in our carols. This is what happens when heaven and earth come together, as they were intended to be, as they once were, as they will be.
So we are lighting trees in our sanctuary. It’s not too far off to say that in this place where we worship we are creating burning bushes to remind us of the glory of God that can be glimpsed if we open our eyes and we look. We are bringing out our best colors. Look, there you’ll see an angel and over there another. Maybe there are more. Look again. Look harder. The shepherds are here. So is Mary and her husband Joseph. Have we any wise men able to see and understand what is happening here?
We are bringing heaven and earth together just as it was on that long ago night. There is only one thing we need. All this we do, all this we have done is a prompt, an inducement. You see there is one place, surely, where heaven and earth come together and the favor and the glory of God rests. That place is you. We need you. The focal point of all this beauty, all this glory, is you. We need you to be here so that the glory has a place on which to rest truly, the place it belongs. We need you.
Come. Come and see. Come and see what Christmas is, what it looks like. Come and see what happens when the Son of God is born.